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From the Beginning

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Maya gets an idea. She grabs a few things and sets up as Carina is unpacking a few things. To be honest, it’s irking Maya a little that Carina is moving some of her stuff around to make room for her own stuff. Carina always asks before she moves something; but being a control freak, it bothers Maya a little. Even though she knows that it is required for Carina to move in. She knows their things need to mingle together. She knows she has to allow room and space and the possibility for her things to be moved or changed.

She’s done this before. Not the moving in with your girlfriend thing. This other thing. Maya pushes the door open. It’s starting to get dark outside. She puts down the items in her hands on the rooftop and looks around at the city from this vantage point. She sighs hoping Carina will like this and not think it’s cliché.

Maya returns back to the apartment after she has everything set up. She finds Carina in the bedroom, folding clothes. “Whatcha doing, babe?”

“Oh, I’m almost finished with my clothes. Did you need something?” Carina looks over her shoulder.

Just you. Maya hums and wraps her arms around Carina’s waist from the side. “I have a surprise for you.”

“A surprise?”

“Yeah, will you come with me?”

Carina nods and leans in a for a slow kiss.

“See, now, if you start doing that we won’t get to the surprise.” Maya kids playfully.

Carina just shrugs. She’s not sure what this surprise is, but if they forgo the surprise for sex Carina wouldn’t be mad.

“Come on.” Maya tugs Carina along. They exit the apartment and Maya locks the door. The walk down the hall is short before they get to the door.

“What are we doing?” Carina is suspicious now that they are standing in front of the emergency exit. “Maya this is the emergency exit.”

“I know that.” She grins at Carina and puts her hand on the bar to push the door open.

“The alarm is going to sound.” Carina warns her.

“No, it won’t.” She smirks.

Carina raises an eyebrow at that. “What did you do?”

Maya shrugs. “Just turned the alarm off so it doesn’t bother anyone.”

“You can do that?”

Maya holds up a set of keys in her hand. “Sometimes when you are the captain of a fire station you get special privileges from the building manager where you live in exchange for keeping an eye on the building and making sure everything is sound and passes inspection.”

“He gave you keys to the roof?” Carina asks the words that Maya isn’t saying.

Maya chuckles. “Yep.” She pushes the emergency exit door open. “Well, maybe not keys to the roof because these are emergency doors and can’t be locked, but the key to turn off the alarm.” She winks at Carina and gestures for her to go ahead of her. There is a tiny set of stairs that leads them up to another door that Carina pushes open, and then they are on the roof.

There are two blankets and two pillows and a bottle of wine with two glasses sitting in the center of the rooftop.

“Maya, what is this?”

“Your surprise.” Maya shrugs. It’s not really a big deal. Just something she threw together at the last minute. “I thought we could celebrate you moving in with a glass of wine and a look up at the sky. I don’t know how good it’s going to be because of all the city lights; but if we can’t see the stars then we can just pretend.”

“Oh, bambina. It’s wonderful. Grazie, bella. Grazie.” She wraps Maya in her arms, sealing her words with a sweet kiss.

“You’re welcome. Let’s lie down.” She holds her hand out to the blanket.

Maya opens the bottle of wine and pours them each a glass.

But after the first glass of wine Carina needs something to eat. “As wonderful as this is, I can’t drink wine on an empty stomach.” She can’t just drink wine. She already feels it going to her head, making her lightheaded.

“Oh, shit. What should I do?” Maya sits up and panics. “Do you need like something special? A candy bar?”

Carina chuckles. “Can you just go get some bread or cheese or a sandwich? I’m feeling a bit lightheaded.”

Maya nods vigorously. She’s so dumb. She should have thought of having a whole meal up here. She didn’t think about the food part. “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” She gets to her feet. “I’ll be right back. Don’t go anywhere.” Maya runs off. Literally, she runs.

Carina chuckles. “Where am I going to go?” She mumbles to herself. She lays back and looks up at the sky. It’s a beautiful night. The stars are slightly obscured by the city lights, but they can see them enough to make them out. Carina closes her eyes and waits for Maya to return.

It takes a few minutes, but Maya comes back with a whole loaf of uncut bread, a plate of cheese and crackers and some sausage. “What would you like?” She puts everything down at Carina’s hip.

“You.” Carina whispers. She reaches up, latching her hand to the back of Maya’s neck and pulling her in for a quick kiss. She nuzzles her nose against Maya. “Thank you for going to get this.”

Maya nods against her forehead. “Anything for you, babe. I should have thought to bring food with. How dumb of me? You probably haven’t had anything to eat all day.” Carina worked all day, and then came home, and spent the next hour unpacking boxes, and then folding clothes and putting them away.

“I did have lunch, but I haven’t had anything since.” She fills in.

“I should have made supper for us instead of worrying about this silly rooftop surprise.” Maya deflates.

“Shhh.” Carina puts her finger to Maya’s lips. “It’s not silly. It’s perfect, wonderful, and amazing. So thoughtful and sweet. I love it.”

Maya breathes a sigh of relief.

“But I need to eat a little before we continue with our wine and looking at the stars.” She presses a kiss to Maya’s cheek. “Let’s eat.” She picks up the loaf of bread. “Did you bring a knife?”

Maya sighs and shakes her head. She’s totally messing this up right now. She wanted it to be perfect and it’s not.

“Okay.” Carina lifts the loaf to her mouth and takes a bite out of it. Maya stares at her in disbelief. “What?” She says around her mouthful of bread.

“Very lady-like.” Maya grins.

Carina holds the loaf out to Maya. Maya grins and takes a bite from it like Carina did. They laugh at their own silly antics.

After a little food, they lay back. Maya puts her arm out and Carina lays on it with her neck over it. “Do you know anything about the sky?” Maya asks after a few silent minutes.

“Well, a little but mostly about one constellation.”

“Oh.”

Carina nods. She rolls her head to the side to glance at Maya. “There is a constellation named Carina.”

“No way.” Maya is surprised and thrilled to know this. “I didn’t know that. That makes tonight that much more special.” She scoots a little closer to Carina.

Carina says “Well, you can’t see it from here. It’s a southern constellation. It’s the 34th largest constellation in the sky.”

“Wow.”

“That’s all I know.” Carina shrugs. “Well, about the constellation, that is. It’s also a medical term. Carina tracheae.”

“Really?” Maya didn’t know that either. Carina is imparting some serious knowledge on her tonight.

Carina nods. “It’s the point in the trachea where the bronchi split into left and right. It’s a rigid of cartilage. It’s what triggers the cough reflex.”

Maya watches Carina with wide eyes. “What else?”

“I’m not an encyclopedia. But-“ She looks over at Maya and sees the awe in her eyes. “The name Carina is a form of Cara which in Italian means beloved or dear.”

“You’re kidding?”

Carina shakes her head. “Nope. In Latin, it means keel. That’s why they named the constellation Carina. It’s a part of a bigger constellation that looks like a boat or ship’s keel. So, it has a maritime meaning as well.”

“That’s so cool. It’s a wonderful name. Beloved.” Maya speaks softly. “Perfect for you.”

It’s late and Carina thinks maybe it’s time to go back inside. She’s got more unpacking to do. She has to work tomorrow too so she has to get to sleep.

Maya has other ideas though. She lifts herself up onto her elbow so she can look down at Carina. Even in the dark of the night, she can see the beauty in those rich brown eyes. She leans in and kisses Carina. Her right hand slipping up under Carina’s shirt, her fingertips dancing over Carina’s stomach, taking a northern route. She palms Carina’s right breast, getting a moan from the brunette.

“Maya.” Carina squirms. “We’re outside.” It’s not her biggest concern but it’s what comes out of her mouth.

“So?” Maya wiggles her eyebrows.

Carina rolls onto her side, effectively putting an end to Maya’s wandering hand and lips. “Besides that- we can’t.”

Maya sighs and pulls her hand out of Carina’s shirt. “Can I get a reason why?”

Carina runs her finger down the bridge of Maya’s nose all the way to the tip. “Not tonight.”

Maya pouts. “But it’s been so long. What if I just-“

“Not tonight, bella. I’m tired. Exhausted. I just want you in my arms. I just want to sleep.” Carina explains. She’s feeling a bit needy, clingy. If they had started with the sexy stuff earlier in the night, Carina doesn’t think she would have said no. But now, it’s late and she’s tired and she has to go to work in the morning.

Maya nods. She can live with that. “It’s been so long since we’ve had that too.”

“Si.” Carina kisses Maya softly. “Can we go to bed now?”

Maya nods and gets to her feet quickly, so she can reach out her hands and pulls Carina to her feet. “I know you’ve been working a lot. I get it.”

“Thank you for understanding.” Carina finds Maya’s hand. “I really enjoyed tonight, though. So, thank you for that.”

Maya nods and smiles. “I wanted to celebrate a little. And since everything is locked down-“ Maya shrugs and leads Carina back to the door to the roof.

“What about the stuff?” carina looks over her shoulder.

“I’ll pick it up in the morning.” Maya tells her. “Come on, my love. Let’s go to bed.” Maya thinks about the fact that they get to go to bed together every day now. Well, except when Maya is at the station. But every day she gets to come home and go to sleep with Carina. That might just be one of the best aspects of Carina moving in. Her just being there at the end of a day, no matter what.


Everything is unpacked. Maya looks around the apartment. It’s not the same as it was before. The kitchen especially. Maya wants to go around and move all of Carina’s things. Her fingers itchy to go around and touch everything, to move it. She doesn’t know where to, but just move them to somewhere so they aren’t cluttering up the apartment.

She goes over and picks up a book on the arm of the couch. She knows she should just put it back, but she can’t help it. She moves it to the bookshelf and then goes into the kitchen. She’s not sure why it bothers her so much, Carina’s stuff, but it does.

Well, she knows why, it’s because she’s a control freak, and everything has to be where she needs it to be. She knows she shouldn’t do that. She knows that it’s silly and stupid. But it irritates Maya. Carina’s things.

She and Andy leave for work. Maya departing with an aggressive ‘I love you’. A reminder to herself mostly that she loves Carina and just because she moved in doesn’t mean she loves her any less. It’s just an adjustment that she isn’t used to yet.


They get back from the call and Maya takes care of her paperwork and goes into the storage room. The hoses need to be stacked. She was going to have Jack do it, but he had to leave because Marsha collapsed, so she’ll do it herself. She needs a workout anyway and maybe she can let go of her irritation about Carina’s stuff during her workout.

Andy walks in on her after a minute or so.

She’s not surprised but doesn’t bother stopping when Andy questions why she’s stacking hoses. She goes into the reasons why and vents a little to someone who isn’t Carina. She can’t vent to Carina about Carina. Well, maybe she could, but Maya isn’t sure how that would turn out. Into a yelling match. Or her shouting at Carina like her father shouted at her. And she definitely doesn’t want that.

“Am I broken?”

There’s that word again. The word that Maya can’t seem to get out of her head. The word that she still thinks describes her perfectly. The word that she might always use to describe herself.

“Look I’m still working on this one myself Maya, but I think being afraid to be like your dad is the first step to not being like him.”

Maya smiles faintly at Andy. Andy might have a point. It makes her feel a little better.

“But Maya-“ Andy isn’t finished. “-maybe you should be telling her all this and not me.”

Maya hums and nods. “Yeah.”

Andy leaves and Maya stands there for a moment thinking about everything. She thought about telling Carina but was too afraid that she would end up yelling, so she just avoided it and kept it inside. Until now. Maya lets out a long breath and hangs her head. She pulls her gloves off and puts them on a shelf and exits the room. She stomps over to her office, digging through her backpack until she finds her phone. She checks for messages but there aren’t any. She opens up her message thread with Carina and starts typing. She types out a message and reads it and then deletes it and then types out another message and deletes that one too.

Not sure when your shift is over but I need to talk to you when we are both home again.

Maya hopes it doesn’t sound too ominous and hits send. She puts the phone down on her desk and runs a hand over her hair.

Maya comes home the next morning and goes to kiss Carina, but Carina tells her she has to shower first. The frustration level in Maya skyrockets. She can’t let this go any further, so she asks why the kitchen has turned into a cheese cellar.

“Maya, my home is really scary right now. It’s worse than here and here is really bad. I’m scared for my dad.”

Maya hangs her head. Here Carina is again caring about her dad, even when he is halfway around the world, even when he puts her and her career down, even after they talked about him and the terrible things that he has done. Carina is trying to protect him, defend him. It frustrates Maya even more, but she understands it at the same time. “I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have to be.” Carina goes to get ready to leave for work.

Maya stands there and watches her move about the apartment. She knows it’s not fair to criticize Carina’s Italian kitchen makeover. She knows now that it’s how Carina is trying to cope with everything. With the pandemic, with work, with her father and her family back in Italy. It’s a stressful time.

“I’ve got to go get ready to bring some babies into this terrifying world.” Carina grabs her jacket.

“I did that today.”

“You did what?”

“I brought a baby into this terrifying world.” She goes over to Carina.

She doesn’t want the Italian to leave yet. She still has to talk to her about the kitchen and her father and why it drives her crazy and terrifies her. She knows she missed her opportunity when Carina was talking about how the kitchen reminded her of the good memories of Italy. Maya being too lost in her own head about what was happening. And now Maya is second guessing herself. Finding a distraction.

“Brought? Maybe- maybe more like caught.” She rolls her eyes. That woman at the scene literally just dropped that baby into her hands.

That piques Carina’s interest. She loves when Maya comes home with stories from work. She loves it even more when they involve delivering babies. She gets her coat on and is ready for the abbreviated reason. “Tell me, everything.” Well, maybe not so abbreviated. She needs details, as a doctor.

“Well, first I’m going to shower.” She grabs Carina by the waist and spins them around. “And then I will tell you all about it. Naked. In bed.” She pulls Carina into the bedroom.

“No. No. Maya.” Carina grabs onto the door frame in a pathetic attempt to stop Maya.

“I have to go to work.”

Maya hums and pulls her shirt over her head. “You don’t have fifteen minutes to spare?” She finds Carina’s hand and pulls her into the bathroom with her. She puts on the puppy dog eyes.

“Don’t do that.” Carina can’t help but fall for them every time.

“Do what?” Maya asks innocently.

“You know what?”

Maya shimmies out of her pants and turns to start the water for her shower, giving Carina a full view of her ass.

Of course, Carina’s eyes rake over Maya’s body. She just can’t resist. Her shift at the hospital starts in half an hour. She knows she has to leave but she reaches out her hands finding Maya’s hips, stepping into her from behind.

Maya smirks. “I thought you said I had to shower first.”

Carina groans. “Si. Shower.” She releases Maya.

Maya spins around. She grins at Carina as she is slipping her sports bra over her head and pulling her underwear down her legs.

“Fucking tease.” Carina says under her breath.

Maya laughs and hops in the shower. She starts talking about the call where she showed up and the woman was clearly in active labor and the husband had a needle in his cheek.

“It was total chaos. When I got there this pregnant woman was singing in the front yard. She had a baseball bat and there were beer cans and cigarette butts everywhere. That poor kid.” Maya explains from the shower.

Carina leans against the sink and listens.

“She hit the husband with the baseball bat. He was in the house trying to stitch up the cut in his face with a needle and thread. They wouldn’t wear masks. Wouldn’t go in the ambulance because we transport sick people in there. She ran into the garage. Her water broke. We finally got her to come with us to the hospital. But then she started pushing. I had to fucking catch that baby before it’s head hit the floor.”

“I did that once. A woman pushed out a baby in the hallway at the hospital. I was there to catch it.” Carina thinks back.

“When we got back to the station, Andy asked me if that family reminded me of my own. It didn’t really. My dad didn’t throw things at us or swing bats at us. He wasn’t on drugs or drunk. He just had angry and had control issues.” Maya peels back the shower curtain. “I have that too.” She looks directly at Carina. “I made myself into an exact copy of him to please him. I didn’t realize that until yesterday morning. I looked at all your stuff in the kitchen and I felt this rage. It’s stupid I know.” Maya ducks back into the shower.

Carina furrows her brow. This took a turn she wasn’t expecting. She thought she was just going to hear about the bambino and then maybe get a little handsy or have a little quickie before she went off to work.

“Rage?” Carina questions.

The shower turns off. Maya pulls the curtain back and reaches for her towel. “Yeah. It terrifies me. That I’m just like him. It really has nothing to do with your pasta or your cheeses. It’s all about control. He controlled me. I have this need to control my life. My space. Every inch of it.” Maya dries herself off. “That’s what I told Andy. And you know what she said.” She waits for Carina to shake her head. “That me recognizing that I’m like him is the first step to not being like him.” She wraps the towel around herself, tucking it under her arms. Maya steps in front of Carina. “I don’t want to scare you or make you feel like you aren’t welcome here because you are. I want you here.”

Carina nods but has a frown on her face. “Do you?” She wonders if Maya means it or if she’s just saying it because she doesn’t want Carina to leave, doesn’t want to be lonely.

Maya frowns too. “I do. Very much so. I just- all your stuff. And I understand why you are doing it. And that’s totally fine with me. I get it. It’s good for you. I just need to learn how to let go of that control that I want to have over everything.”

“Maya.” Carina is worried. “If you don’t want-“

“Don’t even say it.” Maya cuts her off. “I do. I do want you here. It’s just an adjustment that I have to make. But it made me realize just how much like him that I am. And I need you to know that. I needed to tell you. And I don’t want you to change anything. You are doing what you have to do to cope with all this Covid bs. And you just moved to somewhere new. It’s a lot of change. We probably shouldn’t have done this in the middle of a pandemic when we are both stressed, working long hours, and worried about our friends, families, co-workers, everyone.”

“Maybe not, but here we are.” Carina wouldn’t change anything if they could go back to do it again. She would move in with Maya one hundred times out of one hundred. She finds Maya’s hands, holding onto them. “I have to go to work.”

“I know.” Maya sighs. “Can we talk more about this later? Don’t let me push it away.”

Carina pushes herself away from the sink. “Okay.”

“And I want to hear more about Italy from you. About the things in the kitchen and how and why they bring back good memories. The meaning behind them for you.”

Carina smiles softly. “I absolutely love you.”

Maya giggles a little at Carina’s wording. “I love you too. Can I kiss you now that I’m all clean and shit?”

“Make it a good one. I have to spend the next 12 hours in the Covid zone.”

Maya hums. “It’s always a good one.” She shuffles forward, Carina wraps an arm around her back, and Maya presses her lips to Carina’s, tilting her head, deepening the kiss, but keeping it short so Carina isn’t late for work.

“You’re right.” Carina thinks their kisses are always good too.

Maya winks. “Now go kick Covid’s ass, Doctor DeLuca.”

“We’ll see how many Covid patients I have today. Hopefully, not many.”

Maya crosses her fingers and shows them to Carina. “Hopefully.” She knows how hard it is on Carina seeing pregnant women coming in with Covid.

They share one final kiss before Carina is slipping out of the bathroom and then out of the apartment.